what to watch when you're stranded
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Lost Aussie Thriller – WAKE IN FRIGHT

WAKE IN FRIGHT is a forgotten film that’s hard to forget.

It’s rare I see something that not only affects me, but also gets better the more I reflect on it. Though made in 1971, Ted Kotcheff‘s Wake in Fright disappeared until 2009 when it was restored and released to DVD and select theaters. The mysterious “lost” film status has definitely added to its appeal- as if the film itself now rises from the grave to haunt new generations of unsuspecting viewers. The tale of John Grant, a teacher (played wonderfully by Gary Bond) stuck in the Australian Outback working through his contract, the film opens at Christmas vacation, with our hero set to spend a much-needed holiday in Sydney with his lovely girlfriend. Of course there are no direct flights from the tiny miserable town, so he must first stop over in a place we’ll come to know quite well: “The Yabba.” While John isn’t pleased about spending the night in this town of unsophisticated hicks, he nevertheless decides to visit the local bar. There he discovers plenty of beer, a friendly Sheriff, and a gambling game called “two-up.” What follows is so tense, so mesmerizing, so insane, that regardless of whether you love or hate it it’ll no doubt affect you. While on the surface Wake in Fright is just a crazy story about a stuck-up British man getting drunk and living out his worst nightmare, on deeper levels it’s an examination of what it means to be a man, what it means to be human, and how far you have to be pushed to surrender your preconceived notions of “good” or “polite.” How far before you stop being a condescending asshole? How do you survive in a harsh wilderness from which there’s no escape? How does a civilized dude survive in a harsh emotional landscape when it’s socially unacceptable for him to show emotion? What’s it like to be so hungry for human contact that you’d welcome a fist fight? The characters that populate this film are fascinating: endearing in their simplicity while managing to be both tender and intimidating at once. And as menacing as it is, it’s also an absurd tale: more than once I found myself cringing and giggling at the same time. On top of which, the visuals are so rich and thick you could scoop them out with a spoon, and really feel every speck of dust and bead of sweat. So many movies have tried to depict a “descent into madness,” but the transformation John goes through here is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. I won’t forget it anytime soon…and I don’t think I ever want to see a kangaroo or an Australian pint of beer ever again.

Wake-in-fright--Outback-

Enhanced by Zemanta

February 5, 2013   No Comments

SCORE! Top 20 Film Scores of 2012 (pt. 1)

Welcome to IOC’s annual, year-end Top 20 Film Score Countdown! As always, the rules are simple – each score must feature original music composed by an individual (or team working together) for a Motion Picture. If there are compilation tracks included they must make up the minority of the disc. This eliminates certain soundtracks – like those of the documentary Searching for Sugar Man and Tarantino’s Django Unchainedbecause they feature tracks culled together from prerecorded material. Bummer. But get over it quick… ‘cos awwayy we go!
 

20.) ComplianceHeather McIntosh

CDBookletOutsideTemplate

For writer/director Craig Zobel‘s tense workplace drama about a middle aged fast food manager (played superbly by Ann Dowd) who takes a prank caller too seriously, Zobel (one of the founding fathers of the awesome Homestar Runner website) enlisted Heather McIntosh, an Athens, GA cellist who’s worked with Circulatory System, The Instruments, Japancakes and Animal Collective to provide the atmospherics his narrative inspired by true events needed. Full of brooding cellos (natch), ringing vibraphone, a pulsing tempo and an overall ominous quality, McIntosh’s first soundtrack is a winner, a chamber piece which helps build the suspense while feeling as indie as the pedigree and subject matter would indicate. Have a listen.

Here’s track 1, “Compliance Theme”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 3, “The Investigation”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

19.) Low & ClearDoug Major

Low & Clear Original Score

This time it’s the score for this indie documentary about a duo of fly-fishermen friends directed by Kahlil Hudson & Tyler Hughen that’s got our attention, an eclectic affair that mixes banjo-like steel guitars with electronics to great effect. Pianos phase in and out, synths almost blow the speakers and wooden blocks join the fray to create a meditative yet melodic sound-scape full of surprises.

Here’s track 6, “J.T. Tracking Down the Canal”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 21, “Xenie’s Theme”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

18.) RealityAlexandre Desplat

Reality

Desplat was a busy man in 2012, giving us the score to Rise of the Guardians, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Rust and Bone, and of course pitching in memorable vignettes alongside the posthumous work of Benjamin Britten and others in Moonrise Kingdom, a fantastic compilation soundtrack which despite being ineligible for our list is a must-have for any discerning hipster. Here Alexandre crafts a lilting surreal score for a film by Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone. Featuring wind chimes, strings, and a choir of caroling voices straight out of Christmas and punctuated with bells a’la Danny Elfman on a subtle and restrained day. Pay close attention and you’ll spot some pipe organ, oboes and weird whirling electronic “chortling!”

Here’s the opening track, “Reality”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 5, “L’Illusione”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

17.) Hard Boiled SweetsTom E. Morrison

Hard Boiled Sweets

Writer-Director David L.G. Hughes’ hard-nosed British indie crime thriller gets a big boost from this exciting score full of loud guitar riffs, a choir of wordless angelic voices, and enough wah-wah pedals and effects to fill a high school basement. All this is spelled by some tension-filled ambient tracks featuring bleeping and blooping electronics, creating an overall score that’s truly unique – complete with track names like “Gobstopper,” “Fruit Bonbon” and “Chocolate Lime.” Must keep an eye on this composer!

Here’s track 1, “A Girl and a Gun”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 13, “The Chocolate Lime”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

16.) Mains ArméesSacha Di Manolo & Adrien Jolivet

mains armess

Frequent Luc Besson collaborator Pierre Jolivet‘s police thriller gets a haunting and propulsive soundtrack straight out of a Michael Mann movie, capturing that perfect 80’s late night atmosphere. Thick bass-lines and moody synthesizers build with hints of flamenco guitar peppered underneath, creating a familiar yet exotic backdrop. Singer Laetitia Bourgeois adds vocals to 2 tracks. Think Tangerine Dream by way of Ottmar Leibert – only endlessly better than how that sounds.

Here’s track 3, “Highway Lunch”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Here’s track 6, “Cocteau”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And so concludes part 1 of our celebration of the sounds of 2012. Tune in for part 2 later in the week – and check out last years’ countdown as well as the ridiculously ambitious and highly subjective countdown that started it all – our Top 150 scores of all time!

Oh yeah – and don’t forget to leave us a comment with your favorite soundtracks of the year… perhaps yours will make our list!?

Enhanced by Zemanta

December 31, 2012   No Comments

  • Some of the topics discussed on the isle

  • Meta